Justin Chang

Justin Chang
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
94% Don't Come Back from the Moon (2019) There's a lot of poetry and soul to it. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
91% Fyre (2019) [The guests] don't come off really well... You couldn't help but laugh. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
100% Knives Out (2019) Johnson hasn't just churned out a wink-wink spoof of the classical drawing-room mystery... with its ingenious twists and turns, he has crafted an intricate puzzle-box narrative worthy of the genre's brainiest practitioners. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
72% Jojo Rabbit (2019) [I]f "Jojo Rabbit" has anything to teach us, it's that sniffles can be an even greater divider. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2019
87% Hustlers (2019) Lopez gives her most electrifying screen performance since "Out of Sight," slipping the movie into her nonexistent pocket from the moment she strides out onto a neon-lighted stage in a rhinestone bodysuit. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
100% Collective (Colectiv) (2019) [A] gripping, despairing exposé of institutional injustice. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
85% Just Mercy (2019) "Just Mercy" is a handsome, impeccably mounted tribute to his activism and also his fellow advocates. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
84% Waves (2019) "Waves" is an even deeper plunge into the same pool, but for all its darkness, it's also a work of great tenderness, with a bracing openness to complex new frontiers of human experience. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
14% American Skin (2019) "American Skin" is a jagged symphony of false notes, each one struck with a sledgehammer. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
56% An Officer and a Spy (J'accuse) (2019) Effortlessly absorbing procedural cinema: With its proliferation of intercepted documents and carefully scrutinized handwriting samples, it opens an engrossing window on the top-secret workings of 19th century French intelligence. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
76% Joker (2019) "Joker" is a dark, brooding and psychologically plausible origin story, a vision of cartoon sociopathy made flesh. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2019
83% Ad Astra (2019) Somber, stirring, ridiculous and just shy of sublime. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
89% Give Me Liberty (2019) "Give Me Liberty" is a full-blown farce on wheels, a master class in controlled, escalating chaos. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
82% This is not Berlin (2019) "This Is Not Berlin" is both a sensitive coming-of-age story and a vibrant, affectionate ode to Mexico City's burgeoning counterculture. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
75% Asako I & II (Netemo sametemo) (2019) [A] peculiarly potent story about life's unexpected little ruptures - those odd coincidences, repetitions and shifts in perspective that can set off aftershocks in the human heart. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
97% Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven) (2019) [A] nervy and imaginative piece of filmmaking that, on a scene-by-scene basis, has trouble living up to its obvious ambition. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
90% Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) The title more or less gives away the entire plot, which just goes to show that unpredictability can be overrated. Even a formulaic crowd-pleaser can be hard to resist if the formula is this well executed. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
96% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) What I like about it especially is that it captures this fleeting moment of almost innocence near the time of the dawn of cinema when directing was not automatically assumed to be a man's job and where women directing a film was no big deal. - FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
46% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) Notably, this is the first Linklater movie to feature a solo female lead, and Bernadette instantly emerges as one of the most vibrant and complex characters in the director's filmography. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
82% Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019) You may not leave this movie satisfied, but you will be appalled - and chilled to the bone. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
72% The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) The complications are ludicrous, but the movie navigates them with cheek and verve, and the jokes land with surprising consistency. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2019
99% One Child Nation (2019) The individual stories that make up "One Child Nation," illuminate an entire history of institutional corruption, medical brutality and pervasive misogyny. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
21% The Kitchen (2019) The plot of "The Kitchen" twists and buckles but it never fully breathes. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) For better or worse, these are digitally souped-up blockbusters that haven't entirely lost touch with their humanity, even if "Hobbs & Shaw," diverting as much of it is, could have used less snark and more soul. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
93% Luce (2019) "Luce" is a neatly constructed puzzle, an engrossing weave of suburban drama and sociopolitical whodunit. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
99% Honeyland (2019) This lovely, heartrending movie leaves you marveling at her history and thinking anxiously for her future - and wondering, perhaps, why her example of basic decency has become so endangered. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019
95% I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (Îmi este indiferent daca în istorie vom intra ca barbari) (2019) The movie's refusal to dumb down its ideas, truncate its arguments or skimp on the power of its own verbiage is precisely what makes it so mesmerizing. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019
95% Ray & Liz (2019) What distinguishes "Ray & Liz" is its ability to find strange tonal nuances within that terrible sadness; bleak as it is, it's remarkably devoid of bitterness or rancor, and even its most despairing passages are flecked with humor and hope. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2019
93% Sword of Trust (2019) A smart, politically barbed comedy about truthiness and consequences. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
53% The Lion King (2019) Some of these remakes have been more inspired than others, but few have felt quite as futile as The Lion King. This isn't the circle of life; it's more like a creative dead end. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
83% The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Like any good martial artist, [Eisenberg] knows just how to keep you off-balance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
42% Stuber (2019) It's not the clumsiness of the filmmaking that rankles so much as the hypocrisy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2019
77% Leto (2019) It's a playful, reality-bending conceit as well as an unexpectedly poignant one. - Chicago Tribune EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2019
83% Midsommar (2019) Aster's control is startling: With diabolical suggestiveness he keeps widening the chasm between Dani and Christian, placing visual and emotional space between two people whose souls have long since drifted apart. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2019
65% Our Time (Nuestro tiempo) (2019) Reygadas seems to have locked himself into an unusually narrow position. Juan and Esther may have a fascinatingly novel and multifaceted marriage, but the picture that emerges, courtesy of Juan's perspective, is almost punishingly one-sided. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2019
90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) "Far From Home," for all its dazzle and speed, has simpler, humbler aspirations and fulfills them well enough. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2019
87% Diamantino (2019) "Diamantino" is no less committed to these ideas than it is to its own uneven, unforgettable lunacy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
63% Yesterday (2019) "Yesterday" leans so heavily on our affection for the Beatles' music that it never allows that music to live, breathe and seduce us anew. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
64% Child's Play (2019) Being an AI with faulty circuitry, Chucky 2.0 doesn't have the hilarious vulgarity or the single-minded murderous glee - the soul, if you will - that made Dourif's Chucky such an unnervingly human abomination. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
93% Wild Rose (2019) Taylor's script is plausibly grounded in the rhythms of day-to-day family life, in the tough realities of cramped apartments, meager paychecks and broken promises. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
77% The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2019) ... an efficient, mechanical five-finger exercise written and directed by Henry Dunham. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
97% Toy Story 4 (2019) Long after the contrived and misfired bits have faded, the brilliantly visualized action sequences and the pinpricks of emotion stay with you. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
45% Murder Mystery (2019) Aniston, not for the first time, seems more engaged and wide-awake than her material, and you can sense her mental gears grinding away as she tests out bits of business and digs for stray moments of comic gold. None, alas, are forthcoming. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
22% Men in Black International (2019) The movie itself, a weightless, unmemorable summer distraction, offers its own curious meta-variation on the joke. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
98% Too Late to Die Young (Tarde para morir joven) (2019) "Too Late to Die Young" doesn't pretend to show us everything, which makes it all the more remarkable just how much it sees. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
23% Dark Phoenix (2019) Not even Turner, with her radiant screen presence and her ability to make strength and vulnerability seem indistinguishable, can ultimately save "Dark Phoenix" from its own failures of imagination. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2019
54% Ma (2019) These are interesting ideas in search of an interesting movie. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
97% Booksmart (2019) "Booksmart" leaves you feeling unaccountably hopeful for the state of humanity - and the state of American screen comedy too. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
88% The Wild Goose Lake (Nan fang che zhan de ju hui) (2019) "The Wild Goose Lake" is unapologetically down-and-dirty B-movie filmmaking, but with its stealth social commentary and matter-of-fact bleakness, you would never call it escapist entertainment. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
91% Atlantics (Atlantique) (2019) Suffice to say that, shortly after a mysterious fire breaks out in Ada's ridiculously lavish marriage bed, the story becomes both a detective thriller and a ghost story rooted in elements of local folklore, and pulled off with a light, shivery touch. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019